I've made lots of progress in my plans for Book 4. I've gone into far more detail than I have for any of my other books - which is probably a good thing. And I feel very excited about it all.
I've also written down brief outlines for Nathaniel Rane Books 2 - 4 at my wife's behest. Up until now, I've had the vague ideas locked away in my brain but she (quite rightly) felt it would be better to have them on paper ready for as and when I need them. The idea behind HWF was always a series that could grow like Richard Sharpe or Jack Reacher - continuing adventures that also work as stand alone books, easy to pick up and get into. (One of my biggest frustrations with modern fantasy is how difficult some can be to get into. Complicated casts with a million things going on - they suffer with the Game Of Thrones disease. You almost need to reread all the previous books every time a new one comes out. I was glad to hear though that Elsbeth Cooper has written a What's Gone On Before section for the final book in her series - more authors should do that.) I do love Rane as a character so if HWF is picked up, again I'd love to continue in his world.
My wife thinks I should just start writing the next Rane book anyway but this is a point that I don't agree with. Unless HWF is sold, I don't want to invest a year of my time on something that will be even harder to sell (if not impossible) because HWF went nowhere.
The current situation with HWF is that the full manuscript is with two of the UK's biggest literary agencies and now it's just a case of waiting to see if either of them are interested. So much of this writing/publishing lark is about waiting/patience and all that stuff I'm not too good at!
However, I do want the right agent. I had a great experience with Rob and then a not great experience with the chap who nearly became my agent when SWITCH/BLADE nearly got picked up - I'm just glad I didn't sign anything at that point.
Things always happen for a reason.
For now I'm just excited that the fact that the ideas are flowing again and I've rediscovered the ability to write again!
So, after months of procrastination, false starts and other general negativity, I believe I have the book I want to write.
I always said writer's block for me is when the story's not right. In my rush to write something, I've been dragged here and there by half-thoughts and almost but not quite right stories. And all the false starts have been down to this - the story ideas just weren't good enough.
However, yesterday I went back to the drawing board. I open up a blank word doc and typed "what do I want to write?" and then brainstormed with myself. 3,000 words later, I have a really interesting world and a good set of characters.
I'm going to spend 5 more days working on the outline and then I start book no 4.
Yes, I'm still dithering away. Bouncing from one idea to another like a teenager at a disco unsure which girl to ask to dance. I keep asking myself "Is this idea good enough?" "Does it have that hook that will help it sell?" "Is this world the place I want to spend the next year exploring." "Do I write a sci-fi book or a fantasy novel?" and so on and so on. Not to mention the characters themselves, fighting away, trying to come alive inside my brain.
I have been busy in my procrastination. I've got a lot of notes and a partial outline for WOLF'S HEAD and the characters of SEVERN keep poking their heads in. There's also been Inktober - a month long drawing thing that I've been taking part in. A drawing a day in pen and ink.
I started the month off by drawing the whole Justice League and had plans to follow that by other superhero teams but instead I've just been drawing characters that I'm in the mood to draw.
This was my attempt at Eleven from Stranger Things (what a great show)
The Bride from Kill Bill
This is Jax, a character from WOLF'S HEAD.
And finally Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. I hope they make a film of the period after Revenge Of The Sith when Obi-Wan is keeping an eye on baby Luke....
Who doesn't like a map in a Fantasy novel? There's something about it that makes an imagined world seem more real. It's there, at the beginning, before you've even read a word of story, teasing what lies within.
When I started writing He Who Fights, I didn't draw a map and that was probably a mistake. I think it was only on the second draft that I finally sat down at my then agent's request and worked out where everything was exactly. And then, when I actually finished HWF, I drew it once more - with a bit more love and care.
This is the world that lived inside my head for nearly two years: